History

In 1840 Valentin28 first described paraganglionic tissue near the origin of the tympanic nerve; this was followed in 1878 by Krause,29 who described the same tissue arising from the temporal bone. However, these early reports received little attention. Subsequently, in the Anatomic Records of 1941, Guild30,31 was the first to use the term glomus body, but the significance of this tissue was unknown at that time. Shortly thereafter, in 1946, Rosenwasser32 described a "carotid bodylike" tumor of the middle ear, followed 2 years later by Win-ship et al.33 coining the name glomus jugulare tumor. Through the 1940s and 1950s, several reports appeared in the literature, but the exact anatomic origin and behavior of this tissue was unknown.34 The terms chemodectoma and receptoma were used to refer to these glomus jugulare tumors because of their similarity to carotid body tumors, but unlike carotid body tumors, glomus jugulare tumors have no chemoreceptors.35 Paraganglionoma accurately reflects the origin of these tumors from the paraganglion cells. Nonchromaffin was added to the term paraganglionoma to convey the lack of positive silver staining by these tumors, but this was inaccurately interpreted to mean that these tumors were nonsecretory.36

In the history of the neurosurgical management of cranial neoplastic disease, glomus tumors of the jugular foramen and temporal bone are relatively new. In 1962, Alford and Gilford,36 in reviewing their own experience (11 cases) and the entirety of cases reported in the literature to date, found only 316 cases of glomus jugulare tumors. In this report, written in the era before modern imaging studies, they defined the natural history of this disease and described a detailed five-tiered classification system based on clinical signs and symptoms.

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